Exclusive interview – hellfest.fr: LOS DISIDENTES DEL SUCIO MOTEL [Nicolas Foucaud (guitar & vocals)]
“As always, it’s going to be a real torture to choose the bands to see! There are so many good bands in the lineup”
Nicolas Foucaud – e-mail interview – January 5, 2017
So how did it feel to get the call to play Hellfest?
It’s fantastic of course! We had already played on the festival a few years ago, but on the Metal Corner stage, which was already a great experience, but being on the official lineup is even better!
This is an incredible festival and it’s an honor to be a part of it.
What do you think of this year’s lineup?
As always, it’s going to be a real torture to choose the bands to see! There are so many good bands in the lineup. But I think, I’m gonna spend the most of my time under The Valley. I’m not fan of main stages, to many people for me and I prefer the proximity of the smallest stages. I like to watch closely how the musicians play, it’s the best way to learn and to feel the communion with the crowd.
Have any of you attended Hellfest in years past? What did you think of it?
Yes of course. As far as I’m concerned, I only went there the year we played, in 2011 and it’s still one of the best musical experiences of my life, whether as a musician or as a spectator. The atmosphere was really great and the lineup just perfect. We all were blown away during Converge’s set and there was also Ozzy and Down and so many more! I had even the chance to shake hands with Phil Anselmo haha! We could meet some of the musicians we love, like John Garcia, Brant Bjork or the guys from Red Fang that we crossed several times on the road after.
Since then I haven’t returned and I didn’t see the new site and the new infrastructure, but I’m looking forward to it!
Are you planning anything special for the festival?
We don’t know yet. We have some ideas, but we have to think about it a little more before deciding.
In any case, we would like to play with a synchronized video that we are working on right now. We filmed a kind of animated backdrop that illustrates the songs of the new album. It’s really cool and it’s part of the overall concept of Human Collapse. It’s a bit the last rung of the journey.
I’m assuming this will be Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel’s biggest show ever – how do you think you will adapt to the larger stage and unique setup?
We gonna work! Work hard to do it the best way we can! We will be working during a 3 days residence in February to set up the new set with video and lights. This will be useful for the future gigs of 2017 including the Hellfest. We’ve done that before we played at the Eurockennes in Belfort and it helped us a lot, especially for the confidence.
What are you most looking forward to at the festival itself outside of performing?
We would like to meet mostly and at all levels: personal and professional.
We plan to work on our communication on the festival through interviews during the whole 3 days and then simply drink beers and chat with the local activists but also the fans of the group.
If our concert allows us to show our qualities to as many people as possible and make people want to work with us, schedule us, follow our news and come to see us live, then we will have succeeded.
What is it like being on Ripple Music? What’s your relationship like with them?
Amazing. We are very happy and proud to be members of the Ripple Family. Look at this crazy catalog! So many good bands on it and Todd is just an incredible nice person. You know, he and his lovely wife Corinne, went on holidays this winter to visit Strasbourg and of course we had dinner all together at my house. It was such a perfect evening. They are two wonderful persons of kindness. Todd is more than just a label manager. He knows us. I mean personally. He makes the effort to know all the members of the bands he signs, to discuss with them, to understand their artistic work but also their personality too. I hope our collaboration with Ripple will last for many albums. We found good and professional people with whom we feel confident and fit.
What other stoner rock labels do you like? What bands do you think we should check out?
We are already on the best label Stoner, why we would be interested in others? Hahaha! I’m joking of course! I like the labels Heavy Psych Sound, Relapse, Neurot Recording, Rise Above, Southern Lord…
Concerning the bands, I will limit myself to the French, because otherwise the list would be too long! Not particularly in the Stoner style because we listen to many different things, but some bands you could appreciate anyway. With no particular order, I would say: Hangman’s Chair, Robot Orchestra, Mars Red Sky, Bad Juice, Thomas Schoeffler Jr, Jack & the Bearded Fishermen, Pneu, Babylon Pression, Klone, Comity, Féroce, Plugged, Abrahma, Loading Data, Dot Legacy, Last Train, Dirty Deep, Pauwels, 7weeks, Hypno5e … There are so many. I apologies for all the good bands I forgot!
How do you feel about the stoner rock scene as it stands today? Is it healthy or is the bubble going to burst?
Good question. I think it’s both. The excitement around this movement has made it possible to bring out many excellent bands around the world and allow them to perform before an audience increasingly numerous and often very connoisseur, but the counterpart of that, is that there are very few band that really stand out. We have copies of copies all the time. 80% of the bands of this style resemble today and it’s a pity to me. They always come out the same riffs, the same guitar sounds, the same patterns of drums, the same themes addressed … Personally I can’t stand anymore and I feel like I have been around it for some time, with a few exceptions. This is also why our latest album moves away from these codes. We wanted to explore other horizons and go further in writing. It is easy to run formulas that are known to work every time. It is more difficult to renew itself permanently. I would like this scene to take more risk in the future and surprise me again.
How do you feel about the stoner rock scene in France as opposed to worldwide? Do you think it has a chance to grow?
I hope so! Some of my favorite Stoner bands are French. Just look at the band list I quoted up above! They don’t all make Stoner, but it shows that the French musicians are there and have something to defend. I think the French Rock scene is one of the best in the world. What always surprises me is that the public doesn’t always realize it, as if the etiquette “made in France” disturbed them. I have the impression that we are always giving more credibility to a foreign band than to a French band this country, whereas it should be just the opposite! Except Gojira and Mars Red Sky, name just one French band that truly exports out of its borders? These are 2 fantastic bands, but they are not the only ones!
Your record obviously dropped this year – how are you feeling about it now that you’ve had some time to sit on it?
I’m still very proud of this record. To my mind, this is the best record we’ve ever made. I like its atmosphere, its sound, its structure, its messages, and the way we did and recorded it. We’ve made a lot of progress in working on this album, in terms of writing, harmonic work, intension of play and singing, and musical theory… But we still have a long way to go to be even better and that’s all that makes the interest of this passion, it never stops! I know, it’s a little bit different from what we did before, but I think it is really more personal. To my mind, this album reflects totally who I am: my strengths, my weaknesses, my emotions, my dreams, my anxieties… Currently, I’m not optimistic about our future. This is probably why the album is so dark. But I only want to change my mind! Please make me wrong!
If you could change something you did with it, what would it be?
Greg (drums) will kill me, but I would say the snare sound on the song “Determination”! Hahaha! For the rest, except some little details, I would make it again the same way.
Have you started work on the next album? If so – what direction do you think you are going to take?
Absolutely nothing! But that’s what we’re used to do. Once an album is released, we work on the live part and we get back in the saddle gently, with a cover song for example (this is what we’re doing now! Surprise…), then we go back to the composition gently. And as after every recording phase, I often have a period when I don’t compose anything. It’s as if I had exhausted the reserve of inspiration and I have to wait a few moments for it to fill up again. It’s pretty strange, but I’ve learned not to lose confidence about it today, because it always comes back. It sometimes takes a riff at home or a jam with the boys to get it back.
What’s the plan going forward for the band? Do you think you can leverage Hellfest into international opportunities?
We hope so! This is our goal. We would like to be able to play wherever we want from us and especially in the United States alongside our label mates. We have already done quite a few dates in Europe and a new tour is planned for next April. We are working on it right now. Our goal is to share the global concept of Human Collapse in concert as often as possible, with music and video.
Aside from Hellfest, what are you most looking forward to in 2017?
As I said, the new European tour and get back to composition step by step in few weeks/months…
What do you love so much about music?
Wonderful question! The opportunity to express myself, share emotions with other people and just create. Create allows you to feel alive, to always be in turmoil, but also to challenge yourself regularly and to progress every day. Music is an universal energy and emotion above all. What can be more beautiful than that?
Do you have any final words of wisdom for me?
Take care of each other and our Mother Earth. Love is all you need my friend! … And fuzz of course!
Interview: Matt Bacon.